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I went on a quick road trip to Monterey Bay this past weekend with Jian & our little bean. We had a really fun time taking a scenic drive & enjoying the good weather. Our main purpose on this trip was to not only introduce our little bean to a new place, but to take her to a proper aquarium (the Shark Reef attraction at the Mandalay Bay casino hotel in Las Vegas does not count). All in all, we had a great time eating lots of seafood, hanging out at the Cannery row & the wharf areas, as well as exploring spots that were new to us, like the Lighthouse district & the hipster spots in the downtown area.

Jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

One thing I reluctantly decided to do while we were in Monterey was to book a spa massage at our hotel. Jian always encourages me to take advantage of the extra amenities (anything other than ordering room service) at the hotels we stay at on our vacations, but I am always stopping myself & making excuses not to do anything extra. I find it to be too extravagant & expensive. Doing things like getting a spa massage makes me feel selfish (in a non self-care kind of way), & I’d rather spend the money on my little bean instead.

This time Jian convinced me to book a spa appointment & treat myself to a massage. I guess he was feeling extra generous that weekend, specially since he got a new job working at a mega brand name tech company. He said he could handle our little bean by himself for an hour or two, having some quality father-daughter time. So, I bit the bullet, pushed aside all of my inner overreactions & excuses & booked an appointment. Well, I’ll just say it outright. I was simultaneously looking forward to getting a tension-relieving massage & looking forward to getting it over with.

I have had a couple of spa massages in my life. This wasn’t my first experience. Most of those past experiences were a waste of time & money, & a few of them stood out as being exceptionally memorable. Well, only one massage experience stands out in my memory as being the best massage I ever had & it was at a family-style ranch resort. My sister had plans for her kids to go swimming in the pool, learn how to feed chickens & ride horses all while my mom & I made plans to get shiatsu massages. That masseuse worked out every kink & knot in my body to the point of hurts-so-good pain. I nearly cried “ouch” out loud. I could feel every single nerve ending & muscle in my body being electrified in the best way imaginable. I was basically having a massage-gasm. It was incredible.

On this trip, however, I did not have the same experience, not even close. Don’t get me wrong. The masseuse I had in this experience was an absolutely delightful woman. She could not have made me feel more comfortable & relaxed. It was through my own stupidity, though, that I did not properly communicate or express my preferences.

Throughout most of the massage, I was feeling so ticklish all over my body. The masseuse noticed me wincing once in reaction to being tickled, & had asked me to tell her if I was feeling ticklish, but I was feeling too embarrassed to say anything after that. The appointment went very well. We had a fun time talking to each other & telling stories about our families. The massage itself was satisfying. It wasn’t a rock-my-world experience like the one I had before, but it was still adequate. I didn’t exactly feel like all my knots & kinks were relieved, but I did feel more relaxed & calm. Over all, it was a soothing massage.

Most often, almost always, when I think about getting a professional massage I stop myself with my own self-insecurities & weird quirks. First off, I’m very insecure about my own body image & shy away from professional massage therapists from seeing my exposed body rolls. Oh, & never mind my apprehension in changing my clothes in the shared dressing room. Next, I am not sure if I am supposed to keep making polite small talk, or if it’s ok to be quiet, like, am I being rude if I don’t engage in a friendly conversation? Also, I am never sure how much I am supposed to give in gratuity, & who am I supposed to give it to (i.e. charge the gratuity to my bill, or directly tip the professional in person?). Then, there are more news stories popping up about spas being fined for having pervy, handsy employees. Lastly, it’s the massage oils that deters me from getting massages; well, it’s more like the smells of massage oils that deter me. I just can’t stand the smell of any massage oil/lotion/product.

This is a big issue for me. Never mind the fact that I feel like an absolute grease ball afterwards, but I just can’t get rid of that unpleasant plastic-y coconut-y smell. I understand that not all massage oils smell bad, but the ones that I have encountered have all evoked an unpleasant feeling for me personally. Immediately after the massage, before I put my clothes back on, I vigorously wiped myself down with a towel. It was useless. In my mind, I still felt greasy & sticky afterwards. The smell, oh the smell!

The massage oil smelled like a cross between plastic & old cooking oil from a sketchy Chinese restaurant. I could not wait to get back to my hotel room for a thorough scrub down in the shower. I even made sure to scrub myself twice with extra body wash & my loofa towel, but the scent still lingered everywhere. Not even dousing myself in cologne could mask the odor smell of the massage oil. For the rest of the day, I couldn’t help but feel paranoid that all I could smell was the scent of the massage oil all over me. Maybe it was some sort of psychological reaction I was having, & I was so fixated on the smell that I was imagining that I could smell it everywhere. That was the perfect time for my quirky OCD behavior to pop up & drive me crazy.

Just the aroma of any massage oil is enough to turn me away from getting massages in the future, but I believe that with more careful planning, & communication on my part, I would probably get more massages in the future. Oh man, I wish I could go back to that ranch resort again just to book another epic shiatsu massage. Hopefully that resort has survived through the pandemic. Right now though, I don’t think I will be interested in going to a spa for quite a long while. Until the next time, I gotta work on being less ticklish. Cheers, all!

Today’s song of the day:

Why didn’t anyone tell me that I’d lose my hair after pooping out a tiny human from my lady vag?! Well, to be fair, no one told me I’d grow luscious, luxurious, thick hair during my pregnancy either. None of the resources I scoured online ever mentioned anything about a woman’s hair journey before, during, or after making a tiny little human beeen.

Oh yeah, when I was nesting during my baby bump phase, I had the most luxurious, thick, long AF hair. It was glorious! I had the long ‘as fuuh’ length of hair I’ve always wanted, with little-to-no shedding/fallout. I went from consistently washing my hair every other day, to washing my hair every three to four days per week. My one & only major issue was having lots of dry & crispy split-ends. I could rub an entire bottle of conditioner into my hair, slather on the most expensive hair mask, drench my hair in styling oils, & it’d still be dry & frizzy.

Then, just before I was set to evict my tiny little beeen from its rent-free downtown studio apartment, I went to my favorite salon to get my hair cut. It wasn’t just because I needed to weed-whack all the dead split-ends, but also everyone around me was trying (unsuccessfully) to scare me with the whole “babies love to pull your hair” spiel. Sure I felt a few pounds lighter upstairs, but damn, I was seriously mourning the loss of the super long length I’ve been working so hard for the past 10 years to grow.

So, it’s no wonder that I wasn’t aware that my hair would shed dramatically after popping out my tiny human. I had no idea that because of my hormonal changes during the baby bump phase my hair would grow more & faster than normal. Then, BAM! Your hormones change again after the tiny human is removed from your body & you end up going in the opposite direction. Your hair begins to shed like mad, & there’s nothing you can do about it except wait it out. Supposedly, after you’ve reached the 6 month mark of motherhood, your hair should get back to its regularly scheduled program & behave normally (like it did pre-preggs).

I was freaking out after my tiny beeen came into this world & saw my hair falling out in mass quantities. I mean, I was (& still am) shedding more hair in a day than a shaggy dog does. Now that I’ve done some internet research & found out that this massive hair loss is extremely typical & to be expected for new moms, I am a little less freaked out about feeling/noticing my hair thinning out now. So, I’m just supposed to wait until my tiny beeen turns 6 months old, then most likely by that time my hair hormones will have calmed down, & my hair can go back to shedding its usual amount per day instead of fist fulls. Until then, let me direct you to a very helpful website that gave me a ton of new insight & reassurance regarding my damn crazy hair loss.

Man, if only I could show you the huge clumps of hair that knot-up my hair brush in the morning. Or if I could show you how many strands shake free & fall to the floor every morning when I get out of bed & push my crazy hair out of my face. I swear I vacuum my bedroom at least three times a day…NOT PER WEEK…PER DAY!! Now I’m getting signalled by my little beeen & Jian, telling me that it’s time to produce more milk from my teats via my fancy-schmancy electric pump. Until next time, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

Taking care of a tiny, dependent human being takes up 20 hours of a single day. The other 4 hours are allocated to shopping online for diapers and Costco-sized tubs of formula powder. I really have to tip my hat & give a heartfelt thanks to all of the nurses, midwives & pediatricians who helped me through my delivery process in the hospital. It was through their routine harassment check-ups, day & night, that my little bean learned right from the start to eat & sleep on a fairly regular schedule.

Many, if not all, of the pre-existing parents in my life forewarned me about a severe lack of sleep once this little bean officially arrives, but so far (*knock on wood*) Jian & I have managed to get a decent amount of sleep. We go to sleep & take regular naps at the same time, & we both get up together whenever our little bean wakes up. We also do all the baby tasks together, like changing diapers (one does the changing while the other makes sure she doesn’t spit up any residual milk all over her clothes).

So far, with all of my accumulated knowledge of taking care of a small child, I have been able to navigate motherhood without much doubt & insecurity. One major helping factor is that Jian & I have been training our little bean to stay on a somewhat regular schedule. This has made her moods & routines quite predictable & on-time (which is approximately every 3 to 4 hours).

It takes many hands on deck to take care of this little one. So, it’s an absolute blessing that, due to COVID-19 restrictions in my area, Jian is now working from home for the foreseeable future. Also since his work schedule is pretty flexible, he is able to help out & not have to take any paternity time off. We are super blessed & grateful for this family bonding time together.

That pretty much sums up my current life for the past 2 months. Even with an extra set of hands at home to help us with emergencies & extra tasks, it’s been more of a challenge (to put it lightly) than relief… but that’s a story for another time. I have to go now and fill up another days worth in the diaper pail. Until next time, cheers babes!

My little bean!

Today’s song of the day:

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